By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Angel Garcia considers his son the most underrated fighter in boxing.
Danny Garcia has won world titles in two weight classes. Thirty-five fights into a professional career he launched late in 2007, the resilient Philadelphia native has just one loss on his record – a split-decision defeat to unbeaten WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman.
The 30-year-old Garcia has beaten a long list of former champions that includes Nate Campbell, Robert Guerrero, Kendall Holt, Zab Judah, Amir Khan, Paulie Malignaggi, Lucas Matthysse, Erik Morales, Lamont Peterson and Brandon Rios.
No matter who Danny Garcia beats, his father figures some fans and reporters won’t give Garcia the proper respect for what he has accomplished. That won’t change, according to Angel Garcia, even “when” Danny Garcia becomes the first fighter to knock out Shawn Porter in their fight for the vacant WBC welterweight title Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (Showtime).
“They never gave him credit,” Angel Garcia, his son’s trainer, said following a press conference Thursday at Dream Hotel Downtown. “It’s always been like that.”
Fans, fellow fighters and reporters have given Garcia grief for “cherry-picking” opponents since he produced his career-defining victory over Matthysse in September 2013. The unconvincing nature of his majority-decision wins against Mauricio Herrera and Peterson and his largely careful choices of opponents over the past five years haven’t helped his cause, either.
Lou DiBella, whose company is co-promoting Saturday’s show headlined by Garcia and Porter, still feels Garcia isn’t properly appreciated for his impressive resume. In part, DiBella explained, that’s because Garcia doesn’t do anything spectacularly well while winning even his most challenging fights.
“I don’t think he gets enough respect,” DiBella said. “This is a guy that just keeps on winning. Every time he gets out there, he wins. And people wonder, ‘How’s he doing it?’ Because he doesn’t do X, Y and Z great. He’s a great fighter. You don’t have to do one thing great. You have to be able to get out there and compete and entertain people.”
Danny Garcia genuinely seems unfazed by how the boxing public perceives him.
From Garcia’s perspective, he has won three world titles and has made millions of dollars. Those numbers are much more important to him than occupying a specific spot on a pound-for-pound list.
“It doesn’t bother me because I know I’m a true champion, and that’s all that matters,” Danny Garcia said. “I’m not worried about the acceptance of other people. If I was worried about that, I wouldn’t be here right now. I’m happy with who I am. My team knows what I can do and that’s what keeps me motivated. I can’t be worried about other people and how they accept me.”
Garcia grew used to criticism way back when he was a top amateur attempting to make the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team.
“It’s been like this my whole career,” Danny Garcia said. “I’m talking about my amateur career. I was the No. 1 amateur in the country. That’s how things work sometimes. It is what it is. I’m not chasing nothing. I’m not chasing credit.”
Neither is Angel Garcia.
“You know why it doesn’t bother me or Danny?,” Angel Garcia explained. “Because if you start letting that bother you, you set yourself back from your goals. You start living that life that people want you to live. When you listen to it, you become that. So you’ve gotta prove to the people we’re not gonna do what they tell us. We’re gonna do what we wanna do. You understand?”
Beating Porter would give Garcia (34-1, 20 KOs) his most noteworthy win since he beat the hard-hitting Matthysse on the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Canelo Alvarez undercard nearly five years ago in Las Vegas. Garcia has gone 7-1 since he defeated the favored Matthysse in a fight many expected him to lose by knockout, but those wins either weren’t conclusive (Herrera, Peterson), came against former champions past their respective primes (Guerrero, Malignaggi, Rios) or were produced versus overmatched opponents (Rod Salka, Samuel Vargas).
Porter, however, is a former welterweight champion still in his physical prime. The 31-year-old Porter (28-2-1, 17 KOs) has lost only a majority decision to Kell Brook (37-2, 26 KOs), another former IBF welterweight champ, and a closely contested unanimous decision to Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs, 1 NC).
The rugged Porter’s persistent pressure, volume punching and durability are among the attributes that make him tough to beat.
Angel Garcia still isn’t concerned. He considers Porter just another difficult foe his resourceful son will figure out how to beat when they go at it for the WBC welterweight title an injured Thurman relinquished late in April.
“I know what Danny brings to the table,” Angel Garcia said. “Danny’s a more seasoned fighter than him. This is the right fight for Danny to make him look like a great champion. It’s gonna be like any other fight. Porter’s gonna come out to fight because that’s what he does. He’s a fighter.
“But Danny has a better resume and he’s a better fighter all the way around. He just comes in, with his head down, jumps in, slugs and gases himself all up. We’re ready for all of that. If he gets dumb the way that he can be, he’s gonna go down early.”
Angel Garcia also called Porter “a sucker for a straight right hand” whose aggression could lead to him getting knocked out within the first three rounds of their scheduled 12-round championship match.
Most Las Vegas and Internet sports books list Garcia as a slight favorite over Porter entering their Showtime Championship Boxing main event (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT). If Garcia regains the WBC 147-pound championship he lost to Thurman 18 months ago, he won’t worry about what’s said or written about his performance or his perceived place within a stacked welterweight division.
“Not at all,” Danny Garcia said. “I feel I achieved a lot in this sport. And this is just adding more hardware to my collection.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.